The Flyers are going to need all the help they cant this weekend against the Dallas Stars. Not only are the resurgent Stars expected to be a leader in the Western Conference this season, they're coming off of two really impressive games against two other Metropolitan Division foes, Columbus and Pittsburgh.
Thursday night in Western Pa., the Stars used a last second goal from Jamie Benn to complete a comeback and beat the Pens. On Tuesday night in Columbus, Tyler Seguin's hat trick paces the Stars to a win over the Blue Jackets. Now they're heading back home, and the still-winless Flyers are beginning the start of a really tough road trip vs. Dallas, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
The status of Braydon Coburn is unknown as of now, although he did skate with regular partner Andrew MacDonald in practice. The status of the fourth line is also in doubt following the call up of Chris VandeVelde from Lehigh Valley.
Way Berube talked today it sounds as if VandeVelde will replace Jones on 4th line; Coburn is "iffy". Berube says not sure he's ready— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) October 17, 2014
Should mention Berube does not rule out possibility of playing VandeVelde w/Jones for a physical presence. Akeson would come out.— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) October 17, 2014
Hard to get all that irritated over any of these potential changes on the fourth line, especially so early in the season. VandeVelde plays center, though, so it would make sense that Blair Jones, also a center, would be the one checking out of the lineup. Then again, I doubt there's any concern about Jones or VandeVelde swapping to wing. Ultimately, however the fourth line plays out won't have much of an impact. It's not like switching VandeVelde or Jones or Akeson is going to be the difference between a win and a loss.
On defense, it's looking like Braydon Coburn will be back. Who he replaces, though, is still up in the air. Via the Daily News:
Flyers coach Craig Berube has made no promises to his in-flux defense corps that veteran Nick Schultz will be the odd man out, as he was on Opening Night in Boston.
Consider that both a nod toward Schultz's steadying influence and a message delivered to Luke Schenn and Michael Del Zotto to step up their game.
Which defenseman would you like to see sit for Coburn?